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Feb
20
2008

Should you believe in man-made Global Warming?

This question is posed by Philip Stott in two recent postings on his blog entitled “Pascal’s Wager And ‘Global Warming’” and An Obstinate Rationality .Stott’s blog is worth adding to your “favourites” and visiting frequently. He used to give an annual lecture to my students and invariably was awarded top marks in the student assessments of the lectures to which they were subjected.

I find him a convincing sceptic. An example from “An Obstinate Rationality”:
“Whenever I hear politicians and activists talking about “stopping climate change”, or “saving the planet”; when I see the rich buying indulgences in the form of carbon credits, or carbon offsets; when I hear politicians talking about “zero-carbon houses”, when no such thing exists; when I hear scientists declaring that we can manage the most complex, coupled, non-linear, semi-chaotic system known to humans by fiddling at the margins with one factor – and to a degree Celsius; when I see the blatant hypocrisy of newspapers like The Independent and The Guardian, which lecture us all, while selling foreign holidays, page after page; when I hear academics planning to fly to another world conference on climate change; when I watch one more hyped-up report, with shelving ice and doleful polar bears, on the tele; when I see yet another celebrity flying in to yet another world gig to tell us how to live the ‘Green’ life; when I hear claims that wind turbines will save the world; ….. an obstinate rationality prevents me from having anything to do with the carbon claptrap of the Global Warming Religion and the trivial pieties of our shallow Age.”

3 comments

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  1. Martin Parkinson says:

    Can’t say Stott sounds ‘convincing’ to me – his tone makes me feel rather patronised in fact and find it difficult to get beyond that. Can see that this might appeal to students though: “gosh we’re much cleverer than those *silly* people who believe all this alarmist stuff. “

  2. Paul Buddery says:

    Martin Parkinson: Can see that this might appeal to students though: “gosh we’re much cleverer than those *silly* people who believe all this alarmist stuff.“

    Which isn’t very patronising at all.

  3. Iain says:

    There are two distinct questions around global warming: is man-made global warming a reality and what do we do about it.

    The two pieces by Philip Stott linked to above focus on scepticism around the second, suggesting that many people are being both hypocritical and unrealistic in their approaches to countering global warming. For this he certainly has a case.

    Where Stott seems much weaker is in answering the first question: is it really happening? His other blog entries appear to be cherry-picking data that supports his case rather than looking across all the research as, for example, the IPCC do (see http://www.ipcc.ch/).

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